Infections from Germs in Pool, Lake and Water Park Water
Many of us overlook the fact that kids can get sick from the germs found in the water of pools, water parks, and lakes.
Germs in the Water That Can Cause Infections
- Diarrhea – This is caused by swallowing water contaminated with parasites, viruses, and bacteria, including Giardia, Salmonella, Norovirus, or even E. coli. These germs can enter the water when someone with an infection defecates in the water or the water is contaminated with raw sewage.
- Pink eye – This category of viruses, known as adenoviruses, can cause pink eye, colds, sore throats, croup, and diarrhea.
- Molluscum contagiosum – This is a rash that is similar to a wart. Although it may not be spread in swimming pool water, it can be spread by sharing towels and toys with a child who has molluscum.
- Hepatitis A – This is a viral infection that affects the liver, causing jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, fever, and nausea. Although often associated with contaminated food, it’s also possible to contract it from contaminated water.
- Naegleria – A rare, albeit very serious and often fatal infection that is caused by the Naegleria fowleri ameba, which is sometimes found in warm freshwater lakes and ponds.
Preventing Water Play Illnesses
In addition to teaching a child not to swallow water when swimming, you can help keep your child and everyone else healthy in the water if you:
• Keep your child or grandchild out of the water if they have pink eye, diarrhea, hepatitis A, or other contagious diseases.
• Don’t let children who have open wounds into the water because it could lead to an infection.
• Don’t share towels.
• Encourage everyone to take a shower before going swimming.
• Take younger children to the bathroom frequently so that they are less likely to have an accident in the water.
• Don’t change diapers by the pool – take the child to the bathroom, wash their bottom, and then wash your hands.
• Cover any molluscum lesions with a watertight bandage.